Hear from a fellow global member of OWIT, Violette Ruppanner, of
OWIT Lake Geneva, Switzerland
How long have you been a member of OWIT? And, when did your chapter start?
I became a member of OWIT (Lake Geneva chapter) in 2008. The chapter itself – then called Geneva Women in International Trade (GWIT) was founded in 2000.
What drew you to OWIT?
The previous year, I had returned from a 2-year stay in the USA (Michigan). Somebody had recommended OWIT to me, saying that that it was a good place to network and meet interesting people. It provided the perfect chance to me, both personally and professionally, to stay connected to the international community and keep up my English.
What do you do for work? What does it involve?
I am a partner with Strategos SA, a boutique consulting firm based in the French speaking part of Switzerland, since 2011. I have both short term and long term projects. My expertise includes strategy development and deployment, project management, change facilitation and participatory leadership. Every client and project is unique. This implies that each time, I need to listen carefully to the client’s story and think about the challenges afresh. And at the end of the process, also propose real actions
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in Eastern (German speaking) Switzerland. We lived in an old house at the border of the town, close to fields and forests, which we loved to explore.
Give us one fun fact that we would not guess about you
I traveled abroad, flew in a plane and saw the sea – all in one single trip – for the first time when I was sixteen (to Crete, with my father). I must have caught the traveling virus then, because ever since, I spend my spare money traveling to places, both in Switzerland and abroad.
Did you have any mentors in your life?
Yes, different people accompanied me during different periods of my life, to whom I could reach out when I needed it.
Who inspires you?
Nelson Mandela, for his incredible leadership, resilience, humility and dignity
What’s one piece of advice for women entering international business or work in general?
Be clear & explicit about what you want and what not. Don’t accept any bullshit, from anyone. Be perseverant.